Prime minister David Cameron’s personal adviser on veterans’ mental health wants centres of excellence to be established throughout the country for veterans.
The adviser, Conservative MP Andrew Murrison, told HSJ post-traumatic stress disorder as experienced by troops had to become a greater priority for the NHS. Mr Murrison is also private parliamentary secretary to health secretary Andrew Lansley.
He said: “It’s clear that current operations have generated a significant number of people with post-traumatic stress disorder. David [Cameron] feels very much that we have an obligation… to do whatever we can to reduce the impact this has on people’s lives.”
Mr Murrison, a former Royal Navy medical officer, has been asked to design a blueprint for services that would benefit the mental health of veterans, as part of a role spanning the Department of Health and Ministry of Defence. He has no indicative budget but expects that any costs attached to his proposals will be fleshed out after the emergency budget on 22 June.
He said he had been impressed by post traumatic stress patient self referral centres round the country and praised their targeted, “bespoke” set-up.
It was also important that GPs were able to spot signs of the condition early on, especially as often troops displayed symptoms many years after they returned from service, he said.
The NHS has had significant success in identifying undiagnosed sufferers with conditions such as diabetes by incentivising GPs through the quality and outcomes framework.